Auto insurance is something that you hope to have and never need. Most people just sign up for coverage with their preferred insurance company, set it and forget it. That is until the day they actually need it, where oftentimes they come to learn a whole lot about auto insurance at the wrong time. Many people probably just agree to whatever coverage their insurance agent suggests if they use one. For those who choose to shop auto insurance on their own, they may be blindly selecting coverage options and limits, not really knowing what any of them mean in the case of an accident. We’re here to illuminate one of the most crucial aspects of a complete auto insurance policy, the Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist coverage.
what is underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage?
Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Coverage aka “UM” Coverage is an insurance coverage that provides protection to yourself and your family if you are ever to be injured as result of an accident caused by the negligence of an uninsured or underinsured driver. Now, what do those terms mean specifically?
- Uninsured Driver is a driver who has no insurance coverage at all to cover your medical expenses.
- Underinsured Driver is a driver who does not have enough insurance coverage available to compensate you or your family for your medical expenses.
why is uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage important?
Regardless of whether you live in a state that has mandatory UM coverage or optional, the fact of the matter is that not everyone follows the law. In fact, many people break this type of law! In the state of Florida, UM coverage is optional but if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, who was at fault, any injuries you may have suffered will have to be paid for out of your own pocket. If you are involved in an accident with an underinsured driver, who was at fault, any injuries you may have suffered will be payable by the other driver, but only up to the limits in their insurance policy. In this example, underinsured means that that person has a low coverage amount and if your medical treatment costs exceed that amount, the excess will likely have to be paid out of your own pocket.
why is UM coverage necessary in Florida?
The following statistics will show just how prevalent this problem is and demonstrate the risk you are taking when you head out in your car every day. Around the country and especially in Florida, there are a large amount of UM drivers hitting the streets every day. According to the Insurance Research Council, in 2015, 13 percent of drivers nationwide were UM drivers! Statistics show that 1 in every 8 U.S. drivers do not have car insurance. More troublesome, is that Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured drivers, a staggering 26.7%. In total, approximately 29.7 million people were UM drivers. Below, you can see the states with the highest percentages of UM drivers:
- Florida at 26.7%
- Mississippi at 23.7%
- New Mexico at 20.8%
- Michigan at 20.3%
- Tennessee at 20%
- Alabama at 18.4%
- Washington at 17.4%
- Indiana at 16.7%
- Arkansas at 16.6%
- District of Columbia at 15.6%
what are the UM coverage limits?
You cannot have UM coverage that is greater than your other liability limits, namely your Bodily Injury “BI” coverage. Your BI coverage provides you protection in the event that you cause an accident and injuries to another driver. So, if you have $50,000 in BI coverage, the most UM coverage you will be able to purchase is $50,000.
what to do to file an uninsured or underinsured motorist insurance claim?
Steps in filing a UM coverage claim:
- You have UM coverage as part of your overall auto insurance coverage.
- You get hit by a UM motorist.
- You file a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company (if there is one).
- You file a claim with your own insurance company and wait until other insurance company (if there is one) responds.
- If the other party’s insurance company does not have enough money to pay for your injuries and/or there is no insurance company to pay for your injuries, your own insurance company will begin their investigation.
- Once the investigation is completed, if your claim is found valid by the insurance company, you will receive compensation from your UM coverage.
Moral of the story, when driving, especially in Florida, protect yourself and your family by making sure you have Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist coverage! For help or more information give us a call at 833-low-fee5, that’s 833-569-3335. Don’t forget to ask about the lowercase fee!